Backed by 15 years of experience in building production-quality electric cars from the ground up, AC Propulsion has shifted its strategy to converting a conventional car into an electric vehicle. So, your first stop in buying AC Propulsion’s eBox is a visit to your local Scion dealer to purchase a 5-speed Scion xB wagon, for about $15,000. Or AC Propulsion will coordinate the purchase of an xB near their San Dimas, Calif. headquarters. Then, their engineers will remove the internal combustion engine and related components, and install AC Propulsion’s electric drive and battery system composed of more than 5,000 small cells.
The company chose the Scion xB because of its light weight, practicality (seats five, good storage), ease of conversion, and relative affordability. The cost of conversion will add another $55,000 to the purchase price, but the final result may be the closest thing available today to an EV that can meet the average driver’s need for convenience and drivability: air conditioning, power steering, power windows, power mirrors and remote door locks. Just like a Scion xB, but no emissions. The eBox accelerates to 60 mph in 7 seconds, reaches a top speed of 95 mph and will go between 120 and 150 miles on a charge. The company expects to build 20 to 25 eBoxes through early 2008. Orders take approximately six to eight months to complete. The warranty for the batteries is still being worked out.